Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Author: tomvanderwell (page 2 of 120)

“Hey dummy, he told you what he wants, aren’t you listening?”

God has made it plain.

He has put it in His book.

He has passed down the stories from generation to generation.

But are we listening?

Are we spending more time ranting on social media or more time reading the Bible and listening for God in his word and his people?

Are we spending more time telling other people they are wrong or more time looking to determine whether our beliefs are based on the Bible or based on tradition?

Are we spending more time reading the Bible or listening to the news?

God has made it plain. This world makes it really hard to see and hear it.

Maybe we need to remember that better?

Tom

I’ve seen it…….

I’ve seen the damage that institutional living can do to a young child. 

Especially when that child stays there longer than 12 to 14 months (according to ther World Health Organization).    The damage to a child’s brain, the damage to their self esteem and often the physical damage can last a life time.

In the United States, we don’t do orphanages any more.   Or at least we say we don’t.

Ever heard of residential treatment facilities?

Every heard of group homes?

If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quakes like a duck, then guess what?   Yep.

Watch and listen to the TEDTalk and then you tell me, is it time to end orphanages?

I don’t get it.

I mean, on one hand, I do understand.

But then on the other hand I don’t get it.

I get that people are upset about the flag. They feel that a respectful knee rather than standing is actually a show of disrespect.

I can understand that, in some ways. I have the utmost respect for the military and the sacrifice so many have made to keep our country, the country this flag represents, safe. I have the utmost respect for the people who, every day, are working to keep our country safe.

And I realize that we are by no means a perfect country. Actually we’ve done a lot of things to a lot of people that has tarnished that reputation. That hurts and the more I see and understand how that worked and works, the more it pains me.

But it is a protest, people. Protests are supposed to be a bit disrespectful. Jesus was protesting the money changers in the temple – how did He do it? By turning over their tables and trashing their place. The American Revolutionaries protested British tax policies by dumping tea in the Boston Harbor. Rosa Parks protested Jim Crow by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Jackie Robinson protested the Major League Baseball “whites only” policy by going out and standing up to the racist players, managers and owners.

Disrespectful? All of them are, to some degree or another.

That is, to some extent, what makes them a protest against an injustice.

But why? Help me understand.

I was recently in a local public high school and it appeared to be homecoming week. There were a lot of events happening and the day I was there must have been dress in red white and blue day or something of the sort.

I saw teenage boys wearing athletic shorts that came down to the knees with the flag on the shorts. Parts of the flag were in very potentially awkward positions on said teenage boys posteriors.

I saw teenage girls wearing yoga pants that were made out of the flag. Well, let’s just say that what might have appropriate attire for the yoga class or a workout at the gym was way too tight for at school. That flag stretched and pulled and bent in rather interesting ways in interesting places.

Now, help me understand. This was an almost all white school, but how can wearing those type of clothes – shorts and yoga pants – with the flag on them be respectful of the flag and respectful of the country and yet kneeling quietly during the national anthem isn’t?

Or were the teenagers at the local high school protesting something too?

If they were, I missed it.

Tom

2 Words

I had the opportunity this past week to talk with a bunch of high school students about the shortest verse in the Bible.

What is it?

John 11:34

“Jesus Wept”

That’s it. That’s all that the verse says. Jesus cried.

But why?

Why what? Why did he cry? He was sad about Lazarus, wasn’t he?

Was he? Think about it a minute.

Did Jesus know what he was going to do next? I believe He did. I believe that he stood there and wept knowing very well that within the next 10 minutes, His friend Lazarus would be raised from the dead. That HE would raise Lazarus from the dead.

So why was He crying?

Was He crying because all of these people didn’t truly believe that He was who He said He was and they doubted?

Was He crying about what He had to face that next week in Jerusalem?
Possibly.

Was He crying about the evil that was running rampant around the world?

Was He weeping about Hitler?

Was He weeping about the madmen in Rwanda and other places who are responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of people?

Was He weeping about Las Vegas?

And Orlando

And London

And Sandy Hook

And Columbine

After a good bit of wrestling with the question, we came up with what was probably a bit of a cop-out…….

We said that Jesus was probably weeping over all of these and more.

He was looking death in the face and was faced with the evil in the world.

The evil that has come down in the past and since then and knew that He had a big job ahead of him.

That’s what He was weeping about.

But we also agreed it will be really cool to be able to sit around the table with Jesus some day and ask Him.

Smart bunch of teenagers…….

Tom

Chess or Checkers?

This morning, in church, our pastor said something in the sermon that really hit home with me. We’re just starting a series on King David – “A Mess After God’s Own Heart.”

While talking about God’s transition from the King the people of Israel wanted (Saul) to the King that God wanted (David), Pastor Darrell said, “God doesn’t play checkers, he plays chess – think about it…….”

I have been……

Checkers is a game that usually takes minutes not hours.
Chess is a game that takes hours, days or even longer.

Checkers is a game requires minimal skills and intelligence.
Chess is a game that requires significant intelligence if you are going to play it well.

Checkers is a game that rarely requires seeing more than one or two steps in advance.
Chess is a game that requires seeing far into the future and planning not just the next move or two, but the next dozen moves and anticipating your opponent’s move far into the future.

Checkers can have multiple kings and everyone else is exactly the same.
Chess has only one leader, only one King and it celebrates and coordinates the differences between the players.

So, what do we have? We have God playing a “game” that requires patience, takes a long time, requires seeing into the future and planning many steps, celebrates and protects one leader and one King.

Yeah, I’d say God plays chess. What do you think?

Tom V

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